Monday, October 6, 2008

Five Reasons Kansas Could Lose

The first order of business that we should report is that next week's game in Norman has been picked by ABC. However, they have yet to decide if it will go in the 2:30 or 7:00 pm time slot. Whichever they choose, MU @ UT will go in the other. With that, it's time to turn our attention to the this week's game, which will air on ESPN2 and kickoff at 11:30 am from beautiful Memorial Stadium (well, possibly beautiful).

1. Saturday's First Half No-Show: Though it's mostly getting brushed aside as a lethargic half that was overcome by feistiness and grit, that was the worst half of football since the second half meltdown against OSU a couple years back. Seriously, that was some Terry Allen shit right there and outside of KSU, they can't get away with it again this year.
Will it happen? Highly unlikely. For one thing, they are at home where things don't seem to snowball nearly as bad. For another, this latest gaff should be pretty fresh in their minds, so it's hard to see them coming out complacent a second week in a row. That being the case, I wouldn't expect them to be on the wrong side of another 20-0 half of football. At least not for another week.

2. Transparency: Despite the semi-emergence of Jake Sharp in the second half Saturday, Kansas is still largely without a running game. If this happens again and CU can sell out on the pass rush, will they be too much for the o-line to handle?
Will it happen? Quite possibly. Texas has struggled running as well, and outside of a 51 yarder, they didn't manage much on the Buffs this weekend and were still held to under 4 per carry. CU isn't much better statistically than ISU stopping the run, but they are a better pass rushing team. If KU can't run, expect Todd to be under a lot of pressure.

3. Pass defense: Right now they're 84th nationally by allowing 228/game. Which, by itself, doesn't sound awful. More concerning is the 10.6/completion and 5.7/attempt they're allowing. Even worse is the overall lack of physicality. Everyone seems to be playing extremely soft with the hope of not getting beat and they're allowing average quarterbacks to pick them apart.
Will it happen? I don't see them getting picked apart, but I certainly wouldn't bet on the problems getting fixed. Fortunately, CU would rather run than pass and KU still seems pretty well suited to stop that (aside from the first drive or two Saturday). If not, and they make Cody Hawkins (59% comp., 5.9 yards/att., 185 yards/game with 10 TDs, 4 picks and 10 sacks taken) look good, I don't even want to know what's going to happen in Norman next week.

4. The look ahead: Many fans (at times myself included) have been making the mistake of looking ahead to the four games against teams currently in the top 7, two of which directly follow this one. From what I can tell, the team must have been doing a little of the same last week. Is Colorado enough better that a similar deficit couldn't be overcome? Probably not, but I don't want to find out.
Will it happen? It's pretty hard to imagine it happening two weeks in a row, so I'm leaning heavily (and optimistically) toward no. But since I have nothing to base that on I'll just hope I'm right and move on.

5. Turnovers: I normally wouldn't include this on home games where they're two touchdown favorites. But since they had four of them Saturday, I think it warrants mentioning until they return to their previously careful selves.
Will it happen? Like I said, I wouldn't even include it had Saturday not been such a debacle so I'm leaning toward no. It's always easier to take care of the ball at home and I'm again assuming that they come in slightly more focused this week than last. Combine those two things and I wouldn't expect to give it away another four times.

If this post seems eerily similar to last week's, that's because it is. I consider CU a notch above ISU and if this game were in Boulder, I'd be a little scared. The Lawrence location pretty much evens out the talent disparity between the two foes. So, much like last week, I think Colorado provides a formidable challenge with an undeniable ability to pull the upset. Ultimately though, I just don't think they quite have the pieces to exploit Kansas' weaknesses for a full sixty minutes. Here's to hoping they don't even do it for thirty, as ISU proved more than capable of doing.

No comments: